We all know Google has been collecting data on us for years. Now, with the Google My Activity page, you can see [most] of your data all in one place.
Google’s new Google My Activity dashboard allows you to see nearly every piece of data they have ever collected on you: websites visited, images viewed, videos watched, searches performed . . . the list goes on!
It may be terrifying, but it can also be a relief; Google is finally giving you insight into what it is tracking, while also giving you tools to control what they track and store, both in the past and future.
If you’re a frequent user of Gmail, the Google suite of products [Drive, Docs, Maps, Search], YouTube, the Android operating system, the Chrome browser or other Google products, you will likely see a treasure trove of information on upon navigating to your Google My Activity page (you’ll need to sign into your Google account).
Depending on how long you’ve been using these products, Google may have nearly two decades of information stored on your Google My Activity page.
How To Control Your Data
All of the Google My Activity data is used by Google to improve its services for the rest of its users, and to give you a more personalized experience by autocompleting searches, serving you videos or ads you may be interested, and recalling your commute/travel patterns.
In light of this, you may or may not want to delete all or some of your Google My Activity data, as well as change how it is collected in the future. Google has given you the tools to do so.
Delete Past Data
You can delete all of the data Google has collected on you in one fell swoop. This may affect your Google experience, as noted earlier.
- To delete all data on your Google My Activity page, click the menu button on the top left, click ‘Delete activity by,’ and under the ‘Delete by date’ option choose ‘All time.’ Then click ‘Delete.’
You can also be more strategic and delete certain data by keyword/search term, by Google product (Maps, Docs, YouTube, etc.) or within a date range.
- To delete one item (or day) on your Google My Activity page, find the item and click the three dots next to it, then click ‘Delete.’
- To delete a date range of activity, click the menu button on the top left, click ‘Delete activity by,’ and you can then choose to delete from today, yesterday, the last 7 days, etc. You can also choose a custom date range.
Decrease (Or Increase) Collection Of Future Data
You can decrease (or increase) the amount of data Google collects from you in the future easily enough. Again, this may affect your Google experience.
- To change what data is collected, click the menu button on the top left of the Google My Activity page, click ‘Activity controls,’ and choose which type of activity you would like to pause and what you would like to turn on.
Remember, if you don’t want to see any of your activity on the Google My Activity page, the only absolute way to prevent it is to not use any Google – or Google adjacent – products.